Shop our newest book The Lighthouse and support the National Canadian Mental Health Association!
"Everyone has a voice deep down inside them, a voice that says “shine”. Some have loud voices, while some have quiet ones. Some people’s voice is so quiet they never get to hear it, while those that do may choose not to listen. Unfortunately, only a few decide to act on this voice, the stars who influence others to listen themselves."
Find your Little Voice

Year: 2017

COMING SOON: The Lighthouse

This past January, Little Voice was very excited to announce their latest children’s book that would focus on mental health. The decision was a no brainer and instantly became a powerful journey for both author Amanda Bernardo and illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor.

For many years, Amanda has been an advocate for mental health. She has fought to create awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and has, more recently, opened up about her personal struggle with anxiety.

I have never really opened up about my anxiety. I never wanted to appear weak, I never wanted to feel judged, and I never wanted to have it define who I was or who I could become. Anxiety can be something different for everyone. I never got anxious about work or deadlines, or speaking in front of large crowds; instead, the smallest of details that for many would seem insignificant would replay over and over and over again, until I would feel sick.  I hated how certain thoughts could sometimes keep me up all night or even worse, trigger a panic attack. I hated it because I couldn’t control it and if I couldn’t be in control of my anxiety, then a part of me felt like I wasn’t in control of my life. Over the years, I have learned to deal with my anxiety. I guess in many ways I started trying to drown out the thoughts that would make me sick and instead focus on the little voice that inspired me to live life to the fullest. I am extremely proud to be launching this next book in the Little Voice series not only because of how close to home it hits, but because I know it will serve as an important tool to truly start a conversation around mental health. This is our little way of breaking the stigma, but more importantly, our big way of reminding all those suffering from mental illness that they are not alone.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author

This past June, Samantha shared her story for the very first time publicly in a three part series titled Aftertaste. The short series shared Samantha’s journey with an eating disorder and served as the beginning to her own advocacy work towards mental health.

Having struggled not only with a mental illness, but also the fear of sharing my story with others, I know how difficult it can be to share parts of you that for many years you even hid from yourself. As I shared in my short series Aftertaste, I was scared to seek help, I was scared to open up, and I was scared of what others may say when I finally had the courage to say “I have an eating disorder.” I had to first find it in myself to be okay before I could begin to be okay with others. Sometimes those first steps can be the hardest and the scariest but what I learned in sharing my story is that we are not alone. We are each fighting our own battles every single day, but if we do not open up and share out stories with others, we will only continue to let the stigma define us. I am so excited for this next book in the Little Voice series and hope that my art, accompanied by Amanda’s poetry, will serve as an important tool that I only wish I had growing up. This will no doubt be one of the most powerful projects I have ever had the privilege of working on and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
– Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor, Illustrator

Today, Little Voice is extremely excited to share with you the cover of our newest book: The Lighthouse.

We are also very excited to announce that a portion of every book sale will be donated in support of the National Canadian Mental Health Association. We hope that our newest children’s book will not only start an important conversation around mental health but that it will also support the programs and services that help to build resilience and support recovery from mental illness in communities across Canada.

Over the next few months we will be working to finalize The Lighthouse and will be sharing updates on how you can pre-order your very own copy. Please continue to follow our journey until then!

As always, thank you for your support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#WhyIWalk – The 2017 Walk for Alzheimers

A special blog post written by Little Voice’s author Amanda Bernardo in support of Little Voice’s 2017 Walk for Alzheimers. 

I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be involved with the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County. I have accomplished a lot in my life thus far, but there is no joy or pride greater than my efforts in supporting and creating awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.  – Amanda Bernardo

When I was eleven years old, my grandmother travelled from Italy to Canada for the very first time. It was at the tender age of eleven that I also learned about Alzheimer’s disease for the very first time.

My grandmother, Teresina Bernardo, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1995 and at the age of sixty-six. A few years later, she came to Canada for the very first time. At this early stage in the disease, the signs were evident but not alarming. I remember her often repeating the same questions over and over again but I was still too young to understand the full impacts of the disease. It wasn’t until our own trips back to Italy that I began to see how much this disease could deteriorate someone.

A lot of children grow up fearing spiders or heights, but from a young age I feared what could one day be my own inevitable fate.

As the years passed, I slowly lost my grandmother. The disease began as a form of forgetfulness but evolved into something no words can describe. My grandmother is now eighty-eight years old and has been “living” with this disease for over 20 years. Now, in the late stages of this disease, she is no longer able to communicate or look after herself. Living oceans apart from one another, Alzheimer’s disease ultimately stripped me from a relationship with my grandmother.

I’ve known Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time and truthfully, for many years, I wasn’t able to talk about my experiences, or my fears, without tears falling from my face. Even today, I still struggle to share my story but I realized a long time ago that without talking about this disease, without fundraising behind it, without supporting the men and women who volunteer day in and day out to make a difference, nothing would change.

I only wish I was able to share this with my grandmother but I know deep down inside she is proud of me and all that I have accomplished in her name.

I truly appreciate the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County’s recognition of my efforts; I will forever be a part of this lifelong fight for a cure and will continue to support organizations like this that do wonders to support the families affected by this disease.

Being a part of this movement and community is something I will truly cherish forever. 

I hope you will  join us on Saturday, May 13, 2017 as we walk for all those in our community, our country and the world who continue to battle with Alzheimer’s disease, for the families who become full-time caregivers, and to the Alzheimer Society who continues to offer programs and services that help to make a difference in the lives of all those affected by this disease.

Together, we can make a difference.

Sign-up or donate today.

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Introducing the Little Voice Series

For the past two years, readers have asked the Little Voice team when the next Little Voice book could be expected.

To be honest, for a long time, I did not know. I knew what the Little Voice series would look like but hadn’t put pen to pad in a long time. I guess you could say I had a major case of writer’s block. When I first set out to create Little Voice, I knew I wanted to create a publishing company that would utilize literature as a means of creating awareness while giving back to my community. The next Little Voice book had to fill this criteria in order for the writing to truly flow. I always refer to the first Little Voice book as the general mantra of what Little Voice is all about. The series that would follow would be more specific, tackling important issues that face the next generation.
– Amanda Bernardo, Author

And so, today on January 25, 2017, to coincide with #BellLetsTalk, the Little Voice team is finally ready to announce their next book. Together, with the talents of Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor and the writing by Amanda Bernardo, the Little Voice team will be launching Book #2 as the official start to the Little Voice Series.

The next Little Voice book will focus on mental health and will serve as a tool to educate children and as a means to help end the stigma.

Mental illness is something Little Voice has advocated for in creating awareness for Alzheimer’s disease, in Samantha’s own story with an eating disorder, and Amanda’s struggles with anxiety. The reality is, we are all impacted by our mental health. For some, it takes major moments in life to recognize that help is needed, while others continue to suffer in silence in fear of being judged. This needs to end.

By creating this new book on mental health, Little Voice hopes to continue to support conversations like #BellLetsTalk while inspiring children everywhere to break the silence and seek support if needed. By sharing our stories, we realize that we are not alone and that our mental health is something that is always worth prioritizing.

We look forward to keeping you updated on our future plans for Book #2 and hope to share an official title with you soon. Stay tuned and until then, please take part in today’s #BellLetsTalk.

Every time you talk, text and join in on social media on January 25, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.

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Little Voice Partners with Hopewell

A special blog post from Little Voice’s illustrator Samantha Clusiau-Lawlor.

Did you know that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness? Coming from someone who has suffered from one, I am saddened by this statistic but not surprised.

My own journey with an eating disorder, which you can read about here, left me depleted, emotionally unstable and trapped for years. In 2016, I managed to seek recovery for the first time. Through therapy, coping techniques and various resources, I am proud to say that I have been able to stay on the recovery path. I had to gain much needed weight but more importantly, had to work on the emotional side of things in order to find food freedom, and self-love.

(more…)

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